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2020 Season Looking Ever Less Likely To Resume.

Michel d’Hooghe, chairman of FIFA’s medical committee has spoken out...

FBL-WC-FIFA
Chairman of the FIFA medical committee is urging extreme caution in decisions around the resumption of football this season.
Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

MLS had already gone on record to say that it was unlikely that league games would re-commence as targeted, upon realization of their proposed mid-May resumption date.

But now it looks increasingly likely that the 2020 season is destined to be completely consigned to the scrap-heap, unless matches can be crammed-in over the last three months of the year in warmer climes. Perhaps a World Cup-like tournament involving MLS teams in a safe area, if that can de determined, will happen.

Just a couple of hours ago, FIFA’s chief doctor warned against restarting the interrupted 2019-20 campaign and suggested governing bodies prepare for action next season instead, reports BBC Sport.

Michel d’Hooghe said he would be “sceptical” about continuing leagues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The chair of FIFA’s medical committee told BBC Sport: “My proposal is if it is possible, avoid playing competitive football in the coming weeks.

“Try to be prepared for the start of good competition next season.”

European leagues have until 25 May to tell UEFA whether they want to complete or cancel their seasons.

Belgian D’Hooghe went on...

“It can have consequences of life and death and that is why I am so careful and I ask everyone to be very careful before deciding to play again.

“I speak as a medical doctor, I don’t have to speak as an organiser of matches, but for the moment from my medical standpoint I would be very sceptical.”

It is difficult to understand how social-distancing could continue if football resumed, even behind closed doors. The game cannot exist without physical contact.

“For the moment the criteria means it is absolutely difficult to say that we can play competitive football and believe me I regret it profoundly because I am a football man.

“I am a little bit afraid that to have a complete solution we will have to wait until we have a vaccination programme, but I think the time has come now to think of some hygienic rules [in future], for instance to avoid spitting.”

It was also announced today that the French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons will not resume.

It is not yet known whether the French authorities will simply abandon the season, determine positions based on average points won throughout the current season or simply settle for the placings at the conclusion of the final week’s completed games.

The Dutch top flight was abandoned on Friday with no promotion or relegation and no champions, while on Monday Belgian clubs postponed a vote on confirming the cancellation of their top flight until next week.

‘Project Restart’ with plans to resume the Premier League season will step up this week, but it’s incredibly difficult to see how football can resume under the circumstances.

Arsenal, Brighton and West Ham opened their training grounds to players for individual work on Monday.

Leagues all around the world may look towards the Germans as ‘guinea pigs’ should the Bundesliga get the green light to resume matches behind closed doors as proposed on 9 May.

However it’s growing unlikelier by the day that this will be permitted. There’s too much at stake and medical opinion in the country is hardening against the proposal.